11/4/13The Varsity » Canada Europe Trade Agreement opens up exciting new opportunitiesthevarsity.ca/2013/11/04/canada-europe-trade-agreement-opens-up-exciting-new-opportunities/2/4
between Canada and the European Union; it gives Canadian workers preferential access to two of the world’s largest trade zones,a bounty that cannot be ignored. Work visa, intellectual property,and professional certification standards are also being harmonizedto make it easier for Canadian labour expertise to sell in theEuropean market.In exchange, rules governing European investment and acquisitionof Canadian firms are slimming, streamlined and simplified, with nosecurity or Ministry of Finance review necessary, so long as they are valued under $1.5 billion. Seventy per cent of GDP increases in theG8 come from intellectual property and services-related industries,so ceta is a welcome boost for those industries as a growth factor.The many benefits of CETA are conditional on key safeguards, andthe Harper government is highly unlikely to stand up for them.Should it fail to do so, CETA is sure to stand as a missed opportunitythat exposes protected and essential Canadian industries to costlyabuse on the tax payer’s dime.CETA needs new and improved arbitration mechanisms that allow Canadian businesses to protest violations and abuses of its bindingrules.NAFTA failed that test several times by allowing the United States touse sophisticated, non-tariff barriers to trade, and to violate anti-subsidies rules in the face of a weak and ineffective trade arbitrationprocess.Europe is full of economies with a much larger footprint on theglobal economy than individual Canadian provinces. Withoutsufficient emphasis by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ForeignMinister Ed Fast, the ratification of CETA will only add a Europeandimension to this already substantial burden on Canadian taxpayers.Overall, CETA is a welcome addition to Canada’s international tradehorizon. It is sure to add to Stephen Harper’s legacy as a primeminister. Its wording, the issues it addresses, and its format alreadyinform other bilateral and global trade agreements in the making,like the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty.At a time when the United States and Europe are slowly makingtheir way back to the forefront of global growth, this treaty gives theCanadian taxpayer greater disposable income and an even greaterrange of opportunities. These opportunities come at a great cost touncompetitive Canadian industries, federal-to-provincialcooperation to mitigate this impact is sure to make CETA a reallygood deal.
Yves Messy is in his fourth year studying political science.
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